Congratulations … we made it through 2020! There are a lot of memes and funny stuff going around about the year 2020, but 2021 will undoubtedly bring a new bunch of challenges to our city and our profession. Some things related to accountability and transparency of the Phoenix Police Department were left unfinished in 2020 and will still be a topic of public concern. We will most likely hear the same pre-written statements by the same activists who call into the City Council meetings with the same rhetoric of how our nation’s police are the worst thing in the world and should be abolished because the “community” knows a better way, etcetera. They will talk of defunding the police, overseeing the police department, destroying our contract, dispatching mental health professionals to emergency calls, shooting people in the leg, no bail, no arrest on minor crimes (anything else I’m missing?) and no rest until it is all accomplished. It would seem they have the money and politicians to make it happen. We can probably count on some new policies coming from Washington, D.C., in the upcoming year, too.
Our critics will never get us down, and PLEA will never stop representing its members.
As I author this on December 16, 2020, I am watching the formal City Council meeting and listening to the community comment portion of the meeting on our proposed contract. Over 20 “defund the police” people calling us murderers and saying that the council should not negotiate a contract that has any monetary increases or affords the membership with officer rights just so Phoenix police officers can continue to murder citizens at will. Unreal! These people will continue to lie and refuse to look at facts to get what they want. It is good that many of them do not take the time to look at City ordinances or state law but want to make emotional statements in the hope of guilting councilmembers into thinking our negotiation process is flawed. Our contract is obviously going to be the subject of activist outrage.
“Study the past if you would define the future.” This saying, attributed to the Chinese philosopher Confucius, makes sense and can be applied to objectives for the new year. After 2020, we could not help but learn a few things. We now know who we can and cannot count on for support, from our Department, Phoenix City Council and the community. PLEA will continue to make an impact with our community, growing relationships that have proven so valuable over the years. Our profession is changing, nationally and locally, and we cannot forget that a large part of the call for change comes not just from politicians, but from the involved public who we work for. We will continue to work for a seat at the table in any process that involves changes to our existing officer rights to ensure fairness and expertise in those who would judge our actions. Transparency, trust and accountability should be recognized as needs that we should be working for in all aspects of our society, not just law enforcement. Our critics will never get us down, and PLEA will never stop representing its members.
In closing, let us please remember our fallen, those of our own Blue Family and those across our nation. We must never forget the sacrifices of those that any one of us may be called to give. I hope that the new year brings health, wealth and happiness to you and your family.